Sentimental Keepsakes

This nylon and Velcro wallet has been with me for twenty years. I got it from Metrojaya in Bukit Bintang Plaza in 1984. That was my first trip to Kuala Lumpur. I have been using it for as long. It is exceptionably durable. After two decades of use, there are little signs of wear and tear. I paid RM49 for it then, quite a handsome amount for a nylon wallet. However, it is worth every sen that I paid for it as simple arithmetic will prove.

While rummaging through it the other day, I found Mum?s silver ring in one of its compartments. She had given it to me for safekeeping when she was in the hospital. As I held it, memories of Mum came rushing back. The pangs of missing her and the gnawing emptiness filled my heart once again. She had worn this ring for a long time, having bought it during one of the Chinese calendar?s leap months. The Chinese believe that it is very auspicious to buy and wear jewellery during leap months.

This ring will continue to reside where it has been. It exudes more than just a sentimental value; it is Mum?s very personal effect, one she was fond of. It is one of the few treasured trinkets that I keep close to me. The other is the Sacred Heart of Jesus pewter pendant. Wuan and I bought a pendant each from one of the many stalls that sold such items during the Feast of St. Anne in Bukit Mertajam in 2001. I choose the Sacred Heart. I think Wuan selected one of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

At that time, I never thought I would accept the Christ into my life. Among the other items that dwelled in my wallet then included several Taoist talismans that I had been keeping since I was a teenager. We got the pendants as a souvenir of our trip there. There was no religious connotation to it. We tagged along with Mum and Peter and his family on their annual pilgrimage of thanksgiving, penance and intercessional prayers to St. Anne.

Very often, the keepsakes that we treasure most are not the most expensive possessions we own but the little items that bring back beautiful memories. They are ones that had meant something to us one time or another in our lives. Sometimes, they are big signboards that mark our passage through life. Other times, they are worn out marker stones hidden amidst overgrown shrubs by the road we seldom take. Most times their monetary value is negligible. Nevertheless their sentimental value is priceless. I shall always treasure this silver ring like I treasure all the other things that Mum has passed down to me.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

8 thoughts on “Sentimental Keepsakes”

  1. Just wanted to say that when I recently read your journals on your mom, I was really touched and moved to tears by the extent of your mom’s love and sacrifice towards you, her beloved son. I can’t imagine how much more you are emotionally affected by her passing. I pray that you will find the soothing comfort of Christ as your tears washes away your grief. In time, you shall meet her again.

    Yes, indeed it is the person who bestowed you the silver ring that makes the simple ring priceless. Thanks for sharing your precious find with us.

  2. I found comfort in Christ after Mum’s passing. He will continually be my source of strength. Where I once walked in ignorance and darkness, I now walk knowing that the Light will always be with me. Thank you for your prayers.

  3. i kept notes that my dad wrote in order to speak with us cause with the tongue cancer, we could hardly understand what he was saying.

  4. Terry,
    To others, these notes mean nothing. They are just pieces of scraps. Only you know how to appreciate their intrinsic value. Only you know how precious they are. These are the mementoes that link you to your past and those that give you your present and future. Keep them safe. They are worth more than anything you can ever afford.

  5. peter, this reminds me of the gold ring i’m wearing now, which was given to me by my late father more than 20 years ago. it was a gift for me having passed one of my major exams in school. it was not an expensive ring (less than RM100) but of course i still treasure it.

    20 years now… with me gobbling penang’s good food, i seemed to put on weight and the ring sort of become too small for my finger… yet despite that, i still try my best to squeeze in the ring… because it being from my father, i simply must have it with me all the time.

    by wearing this ring from my father, i always feel my father was still with me. it serve as a ‘protection’ from my father for me, if you know what i mean.

  6. Lucia,
    Within these keepsakes, lives the very soul of those who bestowed us it upon us. By keeping them close, we are keeping a piece of them with us. Like the ring that your father gave you, Mum’s ring will serve as a depository of all the good memories we had together and one that is reminiscent of her generosity and unparalleled love for me.

  7. How wonderful that this precious effect found its way back to you! When my grandmother died, I did my very best to keep some part of her with me always. I have a collection of the nonya embrodered tops and sarongs she wore everyday. They are very precious to me.

  8. Marita,
    That was the last item that Mum gave to me for safekeeping which has now become an heirloom of sorts. It is not worth a lot but the memory it holds is priceless.

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